SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — There’s a new crime prevention tool available for anyone worried about making a safe, in-person exchange in Shreveport.
Those encounters may range from finalizing a deal made online to a child custody pickup or dropoff.
It’s all part of something called a safe exchange, with one now located in Shreveport.
Exchanges can be risky, even dangerous, like meeting someone face to face with whom you just made a transaction online.
There's also the tension and potential for trouble in child custody exchanges, especially for domestic violence victims.
“Because the father of their children, most of the time, is their abuser," explained Jeri Rider, domestic violence shelter director for Project Celebration. "And she doesn’t want to get around him because he’s abused her.”
Provisional Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond has announced that his department is opening a safe exchange location right in front of its patrol desk at 1234 Texas Ave.
Rider said it's an encouraging development.
"I thought it was just a great idea that they now have somewhere safe to go."
In fact, Rider said, such programs save lives.
The Police Department has two parking spots dedicated to the safe exchange location.
The site also has good lighting and 24-hour surveillance, Rider added.
“It’s going to make the ladies feel so much better about the whole, because they’re going through, already, so much emotional stuff," he said.
"And to have to see their abuser when they’re terrified to see him. That means the world to them to know that they’re going to be safe.”
While no one calls the safe exchange program a panacea or cure-all for violence or crime, it’s also not a bad step forward.
And it’s not the only safe exchange location in the area.
Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office substations, for example, also serve as safe exchange locations.
And last year, Marshall, Texas, police set aside two parking spaces in the public lot at 2101 East End Blvd. for internet purchase exchanges.